Morning Links

Morning Links: Venice Biennale Attendance Record Edition

Sam Gilliam, Yves Klein Blue (2015) at the 57th Venice Biennale.


La Biennale

The Venice Biennale closed its 57th edition yesterday, and an Associated Press report published in the Washington Post indicates that it attracted 615,000 visitors over its six-month run, making it the best-attended edition in history. The previous edition, in 2015, drew 500,000 visitors. The show’s president, Paolo Baratta, noted that the upbeat main exhibition curated by Christine Macel, “Viva Arte Viva,” could be a balm in these trying times. In a release, Baratta said that the exhibition benefitted from, as he put it, “a growing desire to personally and directly discover the vitality of art in relation to the daily bombardment of sounds and images to which the world is subjected.” [The Washington Post]

Artists at Work

The Guardian has a big profile of the artist Trevor Paglen, who earlier this fall was awarded one of the coveted MacArthur Fellowships, known as the “genius grants.” Paglen lives in Berlin, and brings the writer Tim Adams to his apartment, which was once occupied by Paglen collaborator Laura Poitras, and now serves as the head of operations as he focuses on the topics of government spying and data collection. Paglen joked—or maybe wasn’t entirely joking?—that the apartment is one of the most surveilled spaces in Western Europe. [The Guardian]

Stephanie Eckardt at W takes a look at why Alex Da Corte is once again investigating his physical resemblance to the rapper Eminem. [W]

The Salvator Mundi Effect

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is the latest newspaper to have its editorial board pen a column trying to make sense of the $450 million sale of Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi. After rehashing its perceived lack of quality and supposed doubts about authenticity, it concludes that, when it comes to the art market, “reasonable restraints appear to have fallen by the wayside.” In the words of the editorial board, “The pre-auction hype clearly distorted the art market and introduced a new threshold that the auction of another masterpiece someday will shatter on the way to the first billion-dollar work of art.” [The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Scott Reyburn glances back at the auction gigaweek that happened earlier this month in a story for the New York Times, starting by spilling sufficient ink on how the Leonardo will change the market forever. He then segues into a debate on how auction categories don’t matter if the most expensive work has to be sold during primetime, which is the May and November sales in New York. The 16th-century Leonardo, for example, was sold in the postwar and contemporary sale, alongside work made just a few years ago. [The New York Times]

The Country’s Museums

According to NBC, the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian is doubling down on its reputation for attention-grabbing programming by hosting “No Spectators; The Art of Burning Man,” a show that will feature the large items that people display at the annual festival in the desert. It opens March 30, 2018. [NBC]

The Cleveland Plain-Dealer has a sneak peek at a show of contemporary art from Cuba, opening December 15 in the city’s Institute of Art. [The Cleveland Plain-Dealer]

Prospect New Orleans

Ted Loos of the New York Times went to the Big Easy to check out the city’s triennial, Prospect New Orleans 4, which opened to the public last weekend. He spends much of the time dashing between the show’s 17 venues with its creative director, Trevor Schoonmaker, who is chief curator at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, in Durham, North Carolina. They check out out the final installations of work by Rashid Johnson, Hank Willis Thomas and Njideka Akunyili Crosby, while explaining how the theme relates to the idea of water as a concept, and the role of New Orleans as a port city. [The New York Times]

W‘s Fan Zhong was down in New Orleans for the opening of Prospect as well, and explained that there was one pivotal piece missing: Kara Walker had been commissioned to create a riverboat pipe organ with music performed by Jason Moran, but it wasn’t quite ready for the opening. Organizers hope to have it ready for the closing of the show next year. [W]

Also on hand for the festivities in New Orleans was Schoonmaker’s fellow Durham resident, the Superchunk frontman (and art collector) Mac McCaughan. As he wrote on Instagram alongside a picture of himself and the show’s creative director, “Congratulations to @toschoon for putting together an amazing group of artists and work!” [Instagram]

Art Crime

At Salon, Noah Charney takes a deep dive into the psychological reasons why people are fascinated by the idea of master art forgers. [Salon]

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